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Owning a dog can be a truly rewarding experience. But before you commit to bring home a new canine companion it’s important you’ve considered whether a dog is right for you and your family.
The little puppy you’re planning on bringing home will be a part of your family for the next 10 to 15 years. They will depend on you for everything – from food and water to exercise and veterinary care and they will want to have you around too. There are also a significant number of financial and social responsibilities that come with being a dog owner. So, before you and your family go pick up your new puppy or that rescue dog with the irresistible eyes, make sure you ask yourself the following questions.
WHY DO YOU WANT A DOG?
There are many reasons for wanting to add a canine companion to the family – some good, and some bad. Here are just a few examples:
Companionship – Being a social animal, dogs thrive on being part of a family (or “pack”). Provided you have the time and resources to dedicate to building a strong, loving relationship with your dog they will be a happy addition to your home
Children – Having a dog in the family is a great way to teach your children responsibility and patience by assigning age appropriate tasks for caring for the dog. However, it’s important to remember that you, as a parent, will be the primary care giver. Research has also shown that children who grow up with a pet have better social skills, increased co-ordination, improved confidence and are less likely to suffer from allergies
Health – There are proven physical and mental health benefits that come from living with a dog. If you are looking for a new health and wellbeing partner it’s hard to look past our four-legged friends
Impulse – One of the most common reasons for dog’s being surrendered to rescue shelters is that they were bought without proper planning. Don’t be drawn into an impulsive purchase and be sure you consider the life changing decision you are about to make. Size, shape, temperament, cost and lifestyle factors all need to be taken into consideration before you bring a dog into your home
A Fashion or Lifestyle Accessory – Despite their names Toy, Miniature and Teacup breeds are not accessories. They are living, breathing things that cannot be set aside once you are done with them
A Surprise Gift – Committing to a pet is a personal decision and one that should never be made on behalf of someone else. A dog can be wonderful gift but only when the recipient has been involved in the process from the start and is prepared to take on a new family member
There are many more good and bad reasons to want a dog. Ultimately, the only reason you should be committing to a dog is because you want to share your life with a furry friend and are willing to be a responsible owner for the dog’s entire lifetime (no matter the cost or situation that comes along). Once adopted, a dog becomes a member of your family and should be treated as such.
ARE YOU READY TO LIVE WITH A DOG?
Dogs require a lot of time, care and patience. As pack animals they crave both socialisation and a leader… that’s you. You are the one they will look to when it comes to feeding, exercise, grooming, veterinary care, flea and tick treatments, training and providing a safe home environment for them. You need to ensure that you are able to dedicate enough time each day to your dog’s needs. Having a smaller amount of time does not necessarily mean you should not get a dog, it just means you need to find one that is comfortable on its own and has lower exercise and grooming requirements.
Living with a dog is also expensive. Food, training, grooming, toys, treats, vet expenses, flea and worm treatments, and boarding while you are away from home can all add up. In fact, on average Australian’s spend $1,500 to $2,500 a year keeping their dogs happy and healthy. You need to know before you buy a dog whether your family budget has room for an additional $125-$210 dollars a month in canine expenses. You’ll also need to think about whether you can afford to cover the cost of significant health issue with your dog. Some veterinary treatments, such as, canine oncology can cost well over $5,000. That’s a big outlay, however, there are cost effective pet insurance options that will help you manage this risk.